St. Maximus the Confessor on Scripture and Deification

Everyone who does not apply himself to the spiritual contemplation of Holy Scripture has, Judaic-wise, also rejected law of grace which confers deification on those who are obedient to it. 

He who understands the written law in a literal manner does not nourish his soul with the virtues. He who does not grasp the inner principles of created beings fails to feast his intellect on the manifold wisdom of God. And he who is ignorant of the great mystery of the new grace does not rejoice in deification.

Thus, the failure to contemplate the written law spiritually results in a dearth ( lack, an indequate supply) of the divine wisdom to be apprehended in the natural law; and this in its turn is followed by a complete ignorance of the deification given by grace according to the new mystery.

– The Philokalia as translated and edited by G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Kallistos Ware and published by Faber and Faber (P. 267)

To be ignorant of scripture in terms of spiritual discipline is to be ignorant of the grace that brings deification. Spiritual discipline and awareness about the spiritual law conveys holiness which comes by meditation on the holy words.

The virtues come by understanding the spiritual discipline of the scriptures. The one who fails to know humanity fails to know God. The manifold wisdom of God is made known through created beings, namely the Church.

See Ephesians, specifically noting the 10th verse of the first second and third chapters. Also note the 15th verse of chapter 4, the 14th verse of chapter 5 and the 13th verse of chapter 6. Through these verses we can form a shape and understanding of the themes in Paul’s theology. I bring this up to highlight how the manifold wisdom of God is perceived in created beings as well as the Church as part of God’s redemptive project.

The intellect as well is drawn into the redemptive project by inviting our contemplation to make available to us the grace which bestows our deification. It is only in and through spiritual preparation, through illumination in the blessed scriptures that we can begin to be apprehended by the theosis which anticipates us.

Enjoy. I love St. Maximus. He is incredible.


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